“The grass is not always greener on the other side:” A Conversation About Zim with Matt Anderson
For the most part, Vikings fans (myself included) think it’s best for the team to move on from Mike Zimmer. He has had eight seasons with the team, and back-to-back underwhelming years seems to be the final nail in the coffin. We can be an unruly bunch, us Vikings fans, so there has been no shortage of wailing and gnashing of teeth when it comes to this topic. If you peruse Vikings Twitter, you may notice that Matt Anderson is one of the lone dissenters (follow him here). It’s this proclivity for zigging while others are zagging that prompted me to reach out. I hit him with a handful of questions about his perspective on how the Vikings ought to proceed with Zim.
My questions are in bold. His answers are included in full below. Enjoy.
Coming into the season, were you optimistic about where this team was heading? Did you expect the defense to bounce back following all the FA additions?
Yeah, I’d say I was slightly optimistic. I thought we’d be competing for a wild card spot for sure. As far as the defense, I didn’t really know what to expect. I obviously expected some improvement but there were a lot of questions about Pat P, could Dantzler repeat his rookie performance? Can Hunter return to form? Barr? Plus you add in Tomlinson, Pierce and Griffen. I’m probably not as satisfied about the defense as I’d like to be but there was a solid stretch this season where I think we saw what they can do when healthy.
Right, so that’s an important issue. There was optimism, but also a lot of questions. Has Zim done a good job of adjusting to the various curveballs that have been thrown at him? Could we have expected this defense to be great given all they have dealt with?
I think with any HC or player for that matter you’re always going to have flaws. Zim has had one of the most tumultuous tenure’s as a HC that I can recall. Going back to his first year here he’s constantly had to try and overcome some sort of obstacle. And then these last two seasons with Covid, it’s just been a tough run. With that being said, I do think Zimmer has done a good job at trying to stay the course regardless of the obstacles that may occur. As far as the defense being great, I don’t know if that’s where our expectations should’ve been. But improvements for sure is what we should’ve seen. And we have, just not consistently.
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Sure, fair enough. Two more questions (if that’s alright). What kind of response do you get when you articulate your pro-Zim stance?
I think when I come out in Defense of Zim there are extremes from both sides. I’ve had people DM me saying I’m an idiot (paraphrased a lot nicer) and then I’ve had people saying that they’re with me. Overall though I can see both sides. For me personally, what Zimmer represents as a coach, and a person is someone that I want leading my team. It’s not going to be peachy all the time. But Zim brings a wealth of knowledge, a passion for the game, and a perspective on life that makes me root for him.
Yeah, I’m also a Zim fan. As the season has gone on, I’ve flipped towards moving on. He’s a good coach, but 8 years is a long time. It’s time for a new voice and vision for the team, though my genuine hope is that he’ll find success where ever he ends up. I just hope it isn’t with the Saints and his buddy Sean Payton. OK, so last major question. You’re stuck in an elevator with a weary, beleaguered Vikings fan. What’s your pitch to that fan for keeping Zim against all odds?
The grass is not always greener on the other side. I know it’s quite cliché but it’s true. We’ve seen many HC in the NFL fail, and do we need to be reminded of the Chilly/Frazier era. Zimmer is an elite defensive minded coach. The past two years has been a struggle in terms of getting the defense up to par but the offense has loads of talent. But let’s run it back one more time, and if it doesn’t work then, let’s move on.
Editor’s Note: Purple PTSD extends a hearty thanks to Matt Anderson for answering our questions. Interested readers can find him on Twitter. He has a weekly live show on YouTube through Daily Norseman and Climbing The Pocket.